NEAR BIG BEAR (CBSLA) — A small fire broke out near a Big Bear campground on Saturday. The camping trailer caught fire for unknown reasons in Holcomb Valley Pinnacles.
A group of rock climbers spotted the fast moving flames and then they sprang into action.
“Quickly heard somebody come up the trail saying, you know, ‘we need to get out of here. This fire could potentially block the trail out.’ And there was concern because 150 yards away from where the fire was at there was a parking lot with 20 or 30 vehicles and if the fire spread to that area it would’ve been bad,” said rock climber Matthew Janse.
Janse was in the area rock climbing and took video as climbers rushed to the fire and started putting it out themselves.
“There was people scrambling around and kicking dirt on the fire and it just seemed like everyone had an immediate call to action and was taking charge there. It was great,” said Janse.
US Forest Service firefighters eventually got to the fire after the rock climbers did their best to put out the hot spots, covering their faces with their shirts to protect from smoke.
A Forest Service spokesperson says they don’t really encourage the help for safety reasons but appreciate what the climbers did.
“Yeah. It could’ve been a bad thing but let me tell you — climbers are a different breed. It’s sort of bred into us to help out when needed. To run towards the fire instead of run away from it,” said Janse.
The U.S. Forest Service is still investigating how the camping trailer caught fire and say it’s best to let them do the work just in case there is evidence they need to preserve if something like this turns out to be arson.